Travelogue The Maldives

in November 2018

We booked a 10-day liveaboard with the Maldives Aggressor II relatively short noticed with the following tour: Best of Maldives plus Baa & Hanifaru. Besides we had decided against all prophecies of doom for a flight with the Condor from Frankfurt, as a non-stop flight is fundamentally important to us due to the amount of baggage, the surcharge for the Premium Economy was also not too much and offers more options, especially for hand luggage.

We reached Male about 9.30 o'clock, the entry formalities went fortunately relatively fast, also the luggage was complete and actually the holiday could have started. However, due to a lack of information from our tour operator still a quite long waiting time in front of us at the not so pleasant airport of Male. The transfer person were not on the scene until 3.30 p.m. This again nobody had told us, also the telephone numbers given to us were wrong and no one was reachable for informations. One could have planned differently and better!

Fortunately after 3.30pm all were at the meeting point with their luggage and we were immediately taken with the Dhoni to our ship. By a fortunate coincidence, i.e. an advertising campaign, we had cabin no. 7, the suite, a really very spacious cabin. We were only a total of 11 divers on board, very international, from USA, Canada, UK, South Korea and we both from Germany. After several detailed briefings for ship and diving we were divided into 2 groups, one for photographers and one for "non-photographers", who of course had at least GoPros or something else with them. Dive guides were Ripon for our group as well as Teddy, also Jeremie was there (Cruise Director), who was holding the video camera in his hand on most of the of the dives.


To anticipate: Despite the strongest current, changing weather conditions and a lot of plankton (which makes the Photographing very difficult), it was an extremely nice and interesting tour with many wonderful encounters. The coral world has suffered a lot in the past years, many corals have lost their magnificent color, a result of the "coral bleaching." The seabed looks like a cemetery in some places. Normally, healthy reefs can recover and grow back in a few years. However, the distances between the heat waves in the Indian Ocean since 1998 have become shorter, too short to allow the corals of the Maldives to recover fully.

We did a total of 35 dives on the tour, including 4 night dives. We already knew some of the dive sites (Lankan Reef, Maaya Thila, Vilamendhoo Thila, Kudarah Thila), several new ones were added. Especially the Baa Atoll we knew not yet, the focus of the trip was on the Ari Atoll, where the corals seemed to be the most intact.

The following is a list of the dive sites that we noticed most:

1.Fish Factory near Male

On the first day of diving there was already a highlight, dive at a fish factory, where many (fish) wastes are deposited in the water. Here you can find a variety of moray eels (at least 7 species) and a larger number of whiptail stingrays. (Pink Whipray), which pass the divers without shyness. In addition a large swarm of butterfly fish (schooling bannerfish), a great introduction to the upcoming diving week.


2.Kuda Giri Wreck (South Male Atoll)

Wonderfully overgrown wreck of a fish trawler standing upright on the sandy bottom. The depth is between 20 and 35 meters. At the wreck we found octopus, scorpion fish and mantis shrimp. With little current we were also able to dive the adjacent reef, but here the corals were in a very bad condition.

3.Kandhooma Thila (South Male Atoll)

Kandooma Thila is one of the most exciting dive sites in the South Male Atoll with a length of about 300 meters. The reef is located in the middle of a channel leading to the outside of the atoll. The current was accordingly strong, we had voluntarily left our Cameras on board and hung most of the time on our reef-hooks like leaves in the wind. The number of sharks and eagle rays that flew past us seemingly never stopped. One of the best dives on the tour!

4.Alimatha Jetty (Vaavu Atoll) - Night dive

Our first night dive took place at one of the most famous dive spots of the Maldives. Place is a sandy bay off the island of Alimatha, where you can see a large number of (fed) rays and nurse sharks, which can be seen in the light of the lamps pushing themselves through the divers. We were lucky and there were apparently not too many divers there.


5.Kudarah Thila (South Ari Atoll)

The Kudarah Thila is only about 80 meters long, but certainly one of the most beautiful dives in the South Ari Atoll. The reef begins at a depth of 14 metres with steeply sloping walls at a depth of 20 - 25 metres. It is broken into several parts with a small canyon on the north side and a long cave about 20 meters deep on the east side. If the current allows it, the whole reef can be circled. The whole Thila is inhabited by a huge school of blue stripe snappers, so that sometimes one can't see the reef because of all the fish. Unfortunately there were a lot of divers.

6.Ariyadhoo Caves (South Ari Atoll)

Actually not a very remarkable dive site, the joke of the day was that the photographers, following the recommendation of the guides, all had mounted the macro lens. Of course a quite large specimen of a whale shark came by....icon_sad

Generally there were some whale sharks to see on this day, whereby the crowd in the south of the Ari Atoll certainly did not meet everyone's taste and it should be considered whether this could not be restricted in favour of the animals.

7.Machchafushi Wreck (Ari Atoll) - Night dive

We know this wreck still very well from past diving holidays, unfortunately we had experienced strong currents there almost every time. Not this time, so we could admire the really beautiful vegetation and watch a hunting moray eel, which was apparently targeting sleeping parrotfish.

8.Moofushi Thila (Ari Atoll)

Fun Dive! Very nicely dived with the current, together with sharks and turtles. Unfortunately again no manta rays seen, like already at the cleaning stations before.


9.Fish Head (Ari Atoll)

A classic among the Maldivian dive sites, in former times there were many Napoleon wrasses, we met 8 grey reef sharks, whitetip reef sharks, octopus and turtle.

10.Maaya Thila (Ari Atoll)

We searched and found 4 stonefish, besides enough Nemos, the anemones were available in different colours. Eventually a little eagle ray flew by. Again and again beautiful, this dive site.

11.Bathala Thila (Ari Atoll)

The small thila east of Bathala is located at 10 meters and is actually covered with soft and hard corals. This was one of the worst reefs we had dived during the tour, it is completely destroyed, here the coral bleaching has dramatically done its work. Presumably also because of the current construction activities, visibility was also very poor. However, there were an extraordinary number of fish to see.

12.Rasdhoo Madivaru (Rasdhoo Atoll)

The Rasdhoo-Madivaru is one of the most spectacular reef formations in the North Ari Atoll. A narrow ridge stretches out, almost like a suspension bridge, from the main reef of the Atoll Ring to the outside. Its highest point is about 13 meters deep. On the seaward side, this bridge drops almost vertically to 200 meters and here one has good chances to see bowhead hammerhead sharks at an early-morning dive! In the early afternoon we saw an incredible amount of grey reef sharks, an eagle ray and a stingray that swam back and forth between the two dive groups for some time and really posed for every diver.

13.Nelivaru Thila (Baa Atoll)

On one side there is a steep wall with overhangs between 11 and 22 metres. There is a large collection of marine life, the large quantities of glass fish are extraordinary, and we also saw a long-nosed tufted perch there above 20 meters depth.

14.Hanifaru Bay (Baa Atoll)

From June to November in Baa Atoll is manta ray season. Allegedly hundreds of manta rays (Manta alfredi) and also several whale sharks gather in the plankton-rich water of the atoll. The Hanifaru Bay is a marine reserve, which is protected by strict regulations. Only a small number of visitors per day may enter the Marine Reserve to ensure its protection. We were able to snorkel with about 30 manta rays (diving is not allowed), always accompanied by a ranger and for a maximum of 45 minutes.

This is all done to protect the animals, photography is allowed, but without the use of flash. Also a minimum distance to the animals must be respected, it is also forbidden to touch the animals, for example whale sharks on the tail fin.

One may well wonder why such conditions and monitoring are not also possible in the south of the Ari Atoll. Here especially the whale sharks are chased and touched constantly, but more by snorkelers than by divers.

A few words about the diving safari on the Maledives Aggressor II: the boat, crew, guiding and catering were great, we can honestly recommend everything.

Herewith a big thank you to all - crew and fellow divers - for a really successful diving safari!


We spent the remaining 4 days of this year's Maldives vacation again on the island of Angsana Ihuru in the North Male Atoll. This time we had the bungalow on the sunset side as an upgrade. Unfortunately there was again little beach and many sandbags for fortification.

Due to the conversion a few years ago, the living area has become somewhat larger at the expense of the terrace, but this is not noticeable further, as the private gardens are really very spacious.

The food on Angsana Ihuru is still of very good quality, in the morning and at lunch there is buffet, in the evening alternately buffet and Menu, both of which we liked very much. We had immediately recognized our waiter from 2013, also Ahmed and Rauf from the diving base and/or from the diving ship again.

The house reef of Ihuru suffered a lot from the coral bleaching, of course, but Ali had told us, that it was not the first time. It has looked a lot worse two years ago. We hope that the corals can recover in the long run. We met whitetip reef shark, moray eels, octopus, lobster and on the last day a large school of jackfish (Silver Jackfish) - the local guitar ray had been hiding from us again this time. At the house reefs of the Neighbouring island Banyan Tree, as well as in Ihuru there is currently a greater number of young blacktip reef sharks, about 4-5 months old. One of many reasons to come back!